Lufthansa strike enters day three with 345,000 passengers affected and nearly 3,000 flights cancelled

Germany’s largest airline, Lufthansa, canceled 830 short and medium-haul flights on Friday affecting 100,000 passengers – thousands of them in the UK – after a pilots’ strike entered its third day in a long-running dispute over wages.

The carrier also announced the cancellation of another 137 long-haul flights scheduled for Saturday, affecting 30,000 more passengers.

Since the strikes started on Wednesday the airline has had to cancel 2,863 flights, affecting 345,000 passengers.

A passenger stands in front of the departure board at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany. Germany's largest airline, Lufthansa, canceled 830 short and medium-haul flights on Friday

A passenger stands in front of the departure board at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany. Germany’s largest airline, Lufthansa, canceled 830 short and medium-haul flights on Friday

It said most of its flights will be operating Saturday, and that other airlines in its group are not affected. Those include Eurowings, Germanwings, Swiss, and Austrian Airlines.

Lufthansa said that of the 63 flights scheduled to be operated by the full service airlines of the Lufthansa group in the UK on Friday, 31 have had to be cancelled – 20 to Frankfurt and 11 to Munich. 

Since the strike started 18 arrivals and 19 departures have been cancelled at Birmingham Airport.

One UK passenger, Owen Parr, tweeted that he’d left his house at 3.15am for a Lufthansa flight from Birmingham, only to discover that it had been cancelled, he alleged, ‘without notification’.

The strikes called by the Cockpit union are their 14th since April 2014.

The union has been announcing the continuation of the strike one day at a time, and Cockpit spokesman Joerg Handwerg told the dpa news agency that the union has made no decision on when the strikes may end.

Cockpit is seeking retroactive raises of 3.66 per cent a year going back five-and-a-half years, a demand Lufthansa says is impossible as it faces increasing competition from Gulf airlines and European budget carriers.

‘Cockpit’s demand for a pay rise… goes far above what other groups of employees have received. It is incomprehensible why the union is seeking the highest salary increase for the best paid group of employees,’ said Bettina Volkens, Lufthansa’s human resources chief.

A pilot in the top seniority category can earn more than 22,000 euros ($23,000 or £19,000) per month.

An Airbus of Lufthansa parks in front of a Lufthansa jumbo jet at the airport in Frankfurt. The Lufthansa pilots will continue their strikes at least until Saturday

An Airbus of Lufthansa parks in front of a Lufthansa jumbo jet at the airport in Frankfurt. The Lufthansa pilots will continue their strikes at least until Saturday

 The strikes called by the Cockpit union are their 14th since April 2014. Pictured is a plane landing during sunrise at the airport in Dusseldorf

 The strikes called by the Cockpit union are their 14th since April 2014. Pictured is a plane landing during sunrise at the airport in Dusseldorf